Under current Missouri law, there is no prohibition on doctors or medical school students performing pelvic, prostate or anal exams on unconscious patients without consent.
A pair of bills that have received unanimous support in both the House and Senate seek to change that.
On Thursday, The Senate voted 33-0 in support of legislation sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Lauren Arthur that would prohibit health care providers from performing these exams on patients under anesthesia without first receiving explicit, informed consent.
A similar bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Hannah Kelly, cleared the Missouri House last week 157-0.
“I’ve heard from Missourians who’ve learned only after the fact that they’ve been subjected to these exams,” Arthur said.
These sorts of exams on anesthetized patients are legal in 29 states and are thought to be helpful for medical students.
“The intent of this bill,” Kelly said, “is to protect patients’ rights when they are under anesthesia or in a state of unconsciousness. »